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October 2006 RVC Column

(Written and posted 9/9/06)

Northwest Passages

RVC Column for October Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC

One of the purposes of Mensa is to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members, and communication with one another is fundamental to this purpose. For most of our first sixty years, we communicated mainly via newsletters and at social events that brought members together face-to-face. Now, online opportunities to communicate are drawing members in significant numbers, but this only adds to our options. The tremendous success of the World Gathering in Orlando clearly demonstrated that Mensa members still want to get together in person, even as the possibilities for electronic means of social interaction rapidly increase. To remain true to our fundamental purpose, we must continue to provide new and better means for communication among our members in every way that we can.

As Regional Vice Chair for Region 8, I have striven to promote communication among our Local Groups by encouraging newsletters to be made available online. Several Region 8 Local Groups do this on a regular basis, including San Francisco Regional Mensa, Southwest Idaho Mensa, and Columbia River Mensa; members throughout the region may subscribe to these newsletters in an electronic form at no cost, with the added bonus of color photos in the downloaded versions from San Francisco and Southwest Idaho. I would be very happy to see more newsletters in the region publish an electronic version alongside of the paper copies, which could save significant amounts in printing and mailing costs, enable low cost archiving and retrieval, and give members ready access to information about other Local Groups.

What is new and very exciting, though, is that for the first time, the National Web site has given members access to newsletters from Local Groups throughout American Mensa. As of this writing, archived newsletters from 59 Local Groups are available at www.us.mensa.org/newsletters. I wish to thank BJ Mountrey, Editor of the newsletter of Monterey County Mensa, for drawing attention to this excellent resource in her column in the September issue of Of Mice and Mensa, and I echo BJ in encouraging every member to visit the National Web site and see what you find there. In particular, you will find four examples of newsletters from Region 8, including the August issue of Of Mice and Mensa; the September issue of Omen from Oregon Mensa; the September issue of Intelligencer from San Francisco Regional Mensa; and for those of you who would like to see the work of Redwood Empire Mensa's multiple award winning Editor, Nancy Flack, the September issue of Redwood Mpire News. Some of the newsletters take a little while to download if you are on a dialup modem, but it's worth the wait.

If you are looking for more opportunities this fall for stimulating intellectual and social events, superb choices abound. I will mention just a few. On October 6-8, Mensa of Northeastern New York, MERF, and American Mensa will host Colloquium 2006: Revolution in Cosmology; information is available at www.colloquium.us.mensa.org. On October 20-22, Sacramento Regional Mensa will host Gold Country RG; information is available at www.sacramento.us.mensa.org/normal/rg. On October 27-29, Chicago Area Mensa will host their giant RG, SuperWeem!; information is available at chicago.us.mensa.org/weem/. On November 24-26, San Francisco Regional Mensa will host their RG, Brilliance By the Bay; information is available at www.sfmensa.org/rg.html. In addition, I have scheduled a Leadership Development Workshop in Portland, OR, on February 9-11, 2007, and I would like leaders and prospective leaders from around Region 8 to join me for a weekend of intensive Mensa workshop sessions; for information, please email me at rvc8@us.mensa.org. This is a very exciting lineup of events, and as always, I hope I will see you there!